To reduce wildfire risk, PG&E will shut off power in 16 Northern California counties

3 mins read

On Sunday night, PG&E issued a warning to its 39, 000 customers in Northern California as it will purposely turn the power off in the next few days to minimize wildfire risk from energized power lines.

This, as an event described to blow hot, drying winds is expected to happen on Tuesday night.

There is a high risk for wildfire with the wind event as it will hit the extremely dry vegetation on the field, the PG&E explained in a press release.

The company started disseminating the 48-hour advance power shutdown notice on Sunday night to its customers located in 16 focused areas where the turning off of power will be necessary. Most of these were delivered to residents in Butte County near California’s largest blazing wildfire, the Dixie Fire.

More than 2, 000 residents may experience power interruption in the North Bay, as well as in other areas in the Bay Area like the counties of Napa, Solano and Sonoma.

A fire weather watch warning was issued by the National Weather Service regarding an increased risk of wildfire because of the high winds in the North Bay interior mountains as well as in the hills beyond 1, 000 feet in the East Bay.

According to the weather service, the massive threat is over Napa County’s northeast hills with lower risk for Marin, Santa Clara mountains, and coastal Sonoma.

Included in the areas to experience the power cut are the counties of Butte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Napa, Plumas, Shasta County, and Sierra.

Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, and Yuba counties will also experience the same. 

In fall, offshore winds usually blow in California, which start usually in august. From inland spaces, the winds blow hot air going to the coast and are commonly known to cause the landscape to dry out. It basically takes out the moisture from the vegetation, causing it to become bone-dry and at-risk of catching fire.

Several factors are being considered by the PG&E to shut off power, which includes the following, as reported by SFGate:

  • 30% and below humidity levels
  • Sustained winds surpassing 20 mph and isolated wind gusts exceed 30 mph to 40 mph are forecasted
  • Low moisture content on vegetation
  • A red flag warning from the National Weather Service
  • PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center and crews give on-the-ground observations indicating the necessity for a power cut 

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